From sand to sandwich — growing tomatoes in the desert

A novel farming method using Japanese technology has enabled a farm in the United Arab Emirates to harvest cherry tomatoes in the desert.

Known as film farming, the technology uses hydrogel, negating the need for soil, as well as reducing the amount of water required to cultivate plants and keeping out germs and viruses. Today, over 160 Japanese farmsare using this film farming technology to produce high-yield crops like tomatoes, lettuce and herbs. Such cutting-edge techniques could help to meet rising food demand as well as achieve the government’s target of increasing agricultural output to 54 million tonnes2 by 2025.

This technology is especially important to secure the country’s food supply. Being on the joint of four different tectonic plates makes Japan vulnerable to both earthquakes and tsunamis. As such, revolutionary farming technology that makes it possible to grow crops anywhere — from the desert to contaminated soil — is a boon to the agricultural sector.

As the impact of climate change and the shortage of natural resources become more pronounced, sustainable innovation and practices will be key to address these challenges. At Eastspring Investments, we integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in our investment processes. Find out more about Eastspring at